When people think of “the college experience,” the first things that often come to mind are beer bongs and shots of cheap vodka on a Saturday night. With that comes people’s negative stereotypes about fraternity parties and Greek life.
I hear people say all the time that sorority or fraternity students are more concerned about when the next party is due than their seven-page assignment due Monday morning. Because of this stigma around party culture, the many benefits of the Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Association are often overlooked.
There are many aspects of being part of a sorority or fraternity that are difficult to see from the outside. For example, the Greek community has a strong focus on community service and philanthropic involvement with the events that each house organizes each semester. What many people don’t know is that each fraternity and sorority supports a specific cause and thousands of dollars are raised each year for organizations such as Girls on the Run, Alzheimer’s Association, Ronald McDonald House and many others.
When I was entering college, getting involved in Greek Life was something that really appealed to me because I knew I would have the opportunity to give back to my community and be part of something bigger than me. After just one semester at the University of Arizona, I feel that sense of community more than ever. Each house supports each other by showing up at events and contributing to these philanthropic fundraisers.
“Participating in other chapters’ events and philanthropic events around Tucson was one of my favorite things in the whole world,” said Devin Douglas, former president of Gamma Phi Beta Sorority. “It’s so much fun to be able to do activities that simultaneously benefit philanthropies. You have fun while raising money for a good cause; it’s one of those things that really brings everyone together.
The organization and turnaround that the Greek Chapters achieve with their events is extremely impressive, especially since all houses are run by a group of full-time students, mostly under the age of 22. . This leads to the many leadership opportunities offered by each Chapter, which teach members essential skills they can apply in their professional lives.
Reflecting on her time as chapter president, Douglas made a connection between running a sorority and running a business.
“You need to make sure you’re spending wisely and managing your members wisely. You learn how to interact with a very wide range of people and how to handle different situations,” Douglas said.
This experience is something that will benefit young adults in any career they choose after college. Learning to work under pressure and make tough decisions at a young age are skills that fraternity and sorority members are blessed with.
The feeling of unity in all the Greek chapters is another thing that I noticed right away. People join a sorority or fraternity because they want to find like-minded people to spend their time with. Jackson Byrne, a pre-business freshman, just joined the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and talked about his time with his brothers.
“There are times when you’re in the same house, people would feel like you have to spend time with them, but every day we choose to spend time together outside of the house,” he said. said Byrne.
It doesn’t just include the party either. Byrne said fraternity members spent time studying together at the library, pushing each other in the gym and grabbing a bite to eat on University Boulevard. Because of this, you can create a strong bond with everyone in your chapter outside of the loud party scene.
Above all, the most beneficial aspect of joining Greek Life is the plethora of academic support provided not only by individual chapters, but also by IFC and the Panhellenic Association as a whole. Each chapter holds its members to a high academic standard, such as maintaining a high GPA and attending study hours and there are specific actions that must be taken if this standard is not met.
Jenna Hartman, a freshman pre-business student at Kappa Kappa Gamma, serves on her chapter’s Academic Council. Her role is to meet with members who do not meet Kappa’s GPA requirements and create an academic progression plan for each member. The sole purpose is to provide additional support for women in the sorority so that they can thrive academically.
“Greek Life has a lot of additional resources that I wouldn’t be aware of if I wasn’t there,” Hartman said.
Indeed, when you are connected to so many people with the same goal, you have access to support that you would otherwise have had to seek.
After having had such a positive experience being part of the Greek community, I encourage everyone who has thought about joining but has not, to give it a chance. Once you get past the stereotypes of Greek life, you can better understand that there’s a lot more to being part of a sorority or fraternity than partying. Community engagement, leadership development and academic support are just the beginning.
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Isabelle Freguia is a freshman at the University of Arizona majoring in journalism with a minor in public relations. She is originally from Seattle but moved to La Quinta, California over the summer. She is very passionate about writing and hopes to one day work for a fashion magazine!